Lesson 26
How to keep increasing your level

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

Jim Rohn

As I said at the beginning of this course, to keep improving your English you need to have the right attitude more than anything else.  This attitude is a strong will to learn new things every day.


With this attitude in mind, you can take a look at the activities below and select some of them to start doing right now.


1) Listen to English every day

Of all the advice I can give you, this is the most important.  If you don’t have time to study and you can do only one thing, choose listening above all other activities, as it will certainly improve your English.


What should you listen to?

It is always better to listen to recordings adapted to your level because if they are too difficult you’ll get demotivated.


Here are some suggestions:

  • Intermediate: http://www.esl-lab.com/, http://learningenglish.voanews.com/, http://www.vaughanradio.com/, videos: http://www.englishclub.com/esl -videos / ghosts / index.htm, advice movies:
  • Advanced: http://www.newsy.com/, http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/


2) Work every day and be perseverant

There is an expression in English that says something like: "Dirty hands make clean money".  Las manos sucias hacen dinero limpio.

This means that you have to roll up your sleeves to get honest results. This is exactly what English asks of you in order to master it. You’ll have to work hard to

achieve your goals.

3) Set short-term goals

It’s better to say “I’m going to learn two sentences in a couple of days” or “I’ll know 5 verbs by the end of the week” than “I’m going to learn English in three months”.

It is true that some people are prodigies when it comes to languages. However, for the vast majority of students these fast methods do not work.

The only thing that works in the long run is ongoing practice of short-term goals.


4) Learn the irregular verbs once and for all

It is not about learning a lot of irregular verbs in 25 years. That is what many students who never get to master the English language do.

It is about learning 2 or 3 verbs per week, learning them very well and saying them aloud without hesitating.

Do you make mistakes with the verbs in Spanish? No, right? Then why do you confuse “writing” with “written” or “fell” with “felt” or why do you say “e-a-t-e-n” instead of “itn”? If you do this, it’s because you don’t know the verbs. What are you waiting for to learn them once and for all?


5) Learn once and for all how to pronounce the regular verbs

Remember that the “e” that goes at the end of the regular verbs NEVER sounds like

the Spanish “e”.  So you should never pronounce an “e”, but a –D, ID or T.


6) Repeat sentences aloud

You should repeat everything you hear in English aloud. This is how children learn.


7) Watch videos on Youtube to improve your listening

You can also try TED.


8)  Watch series and films in English

You should start with English subtitles and force yourself to read them and follow what the characters say at the same time.


9) Listen to audiobooks

This whole course is based on a graded audiobook. What else can I say?

10) Listen to podcasts in English

Here you have an example of a page with lots of podcasts: http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/tae


If you cannot still pronounce English well, the biggest mistake you can make is to read texts in English that have no audio. You will learn the pronunciation in Spanish and later it will be almost impossible to get it out of your head.


12) Get up and go to sleep listening to the radio in English


13) Stop being afraid

Fear of speaking is useless. You have to overcome it by setting short-term goals and following these tips: http://elblogdelingles.blogspot.com.es/2011/07/que-hacer-para-soltarse-y-hablar-ingles.html


14) Go to live in an English speaking country

Emigrate, take courses, get a grant, dare. The world belongs to brave people.


15) Dare to talk to strangers

Here you have some tips: http://elblogdelingles.blogspot.com.es/2012/09/como-iniciar-una-conversacion-en-ingles.html


16) Write in English whenever possible

If somebody gives you something to write, write it down in English. It doesn’t matter if you make mistakes. What is important is that you try.


17) Make short translations all throughout the day

For example, ask yourself how I can say:

- Salimos a cenar el sábado pasado.
- We went out for dinner last weekend.

If you don’t know how, ask, search and find the right translation. Linguee is very helpful for this purpose.

18) Take a course of "anything" in English

Accounting, web designing, programming, or Coursera: https://www.coursera.org/courses?languages=en

Free Courses with the best universities in the world in English.


19) Always use software to know exactly how the new words sound

You can try Howjsay (it has a better sound, but you can only hear one word at a time), Google translator, vozMe or Ivona to know how the new words sound.

Remember that to read without knowing how words sound is extremely dangerous for your English.

20) Visit El Blog para aprender inglés to learn something new every day ;-)

21) Look for native English speakers to speak English with (pubs, excursions, heatre)

If Mohamed won’t go to the mountain, the mountain will come to Mohamed. If the natives do not come to you, you must go to look for them where they are: beaches, pubs, tourist sites, and dare to talk to them.


22) Record your voice speaking English

You can use Audacity to record your voice. Read something or say anything in English. Save the file and listen to it some months later after having been studying English. Check to see if you have improved.


23) Make a video speaking English

Yes. If you don’t already have one, open an account on YouTube and make a video in English. Think what you will say, if you're going to act alone or with other people, let your imagination run free and have fun learning English.

24) Do what you love in English

There is nothing better than to join your hobby with English. Theatre, football or crafts in English. Come On. Search courses online!

25) Make a phone call in English

Shaking because you have to call someone in English?

If it is your work, I can understand. But talking on the phone in English doesn’t need to be a problem if you practice before. Start here: http://elblogdelingles.blogspot.com.es/2014/01/como-perder-el-miedo-hablar-por.html


26) Prepare your first presentation in English

Here are our tips: http://elblogdelingles.blogspot.com.es/2008/07/cmo-hacer-una-presentacin-en-ingls.html


27) Make mistakes and improve

If you don’t make mistakes, you don’t learn. So do not be afraid of making mistakes. Just try to talk, and if it goes wrong, practice more and more.


28) Ask to a native to correct your mistakes

29) Do not omit the "esses" at the end of words

30) Create your own dictionary of approximate pronunciations

Here is some criteria. http://elblogdelingles.blogspot.com.es/2013/06/guia-rapida-para-realizar.html


31) Download ANKI to learn more vocabulary

Check here what ANKI is good for: http://ankisrs.net/


32) Try to teach friends, classmates or family members anything you have learnt in English

Remember that the best way to learn something is to teach it.


33) Use social media to improve your English

I post weekly tips and links to improve your English on Facebook and Twitter. Many other teachers do as well. Follow them. You can also join groups of students who are trying to learn English. It will encourage you to see that other students are doing the same thing you are.